The condition and life expectancy of a roof is important whether you own your home, are planning to buy a new home, or are selling your current house.
The roof is a major part of any home and can be a significant investment. If the roof on your prospective new home needs to be replaced soon, you could use that to negotiate your purchase price and will want to make sure it’s condition hasn’t damaged the house. This is also good for sellers to keep in mind as they might not get as much as they’d like for the house if a roof replacement is on the horizon.
Like anything else, the lifespan of your roof will depend on its materials, installation, and how well it was maintained. If you live in an area that experiences a lot of storms and high winds, you should be having your roof inspected regularly to extend its lifespan and get the most out of your roof.
You may be asking, “How long does a roof last?” Keep reading. We’ll explain some factors that can help you understand the lifespan of a roof.
Depending on the material, you should plan to replace your roof once it is 30 years old. However, if you get your roof cleaned periodically, it could last much longer than that.
So how long does a shingle roof last? A common asphalt shingle roof typically lasts 20 years with proper maintenance, maybe longer if maintained and cleaned properly. Asphalt shingles are common because they’re also the least expensive option compared to other roofing materials. They offer UV protection and are durable against rain and wind and can be cleaned easily and effectively.
Shingles should be monitored though and replaced immediately if they’re damaged to maintain durability. You should get your roof cleaned every 3-4 years.
There are three common types of asphalt shingles that can be cleaned:
Wooden shingles can last up to 30 years but do require a significant amount of upkeep and need to be cleaned ofter. Wood can also attract moss more easily so we recommend cleaning every 2-5 years.
Wood shingles are made of cedar, which is rot and insect resistant. But this material is susceptible to breaks and splits. You will need to keep a careful watch for any split shingles and promptly replace them as the roof ages. But, if you do not get them cleaned, they will get much darker with mold and could cause major issues for your roof.
Clay tile roofs can usually last for 50 years or longer. Roofing material like this, which is more heavy-duty than other materials, will cost more than the common asphalt shingles.
While a clay tile roof may cost you more upfront, you likely won’t have to replace it again for a few decades. Like wood roof materials, clay can attract mold and can cause issues with your roof. We recommend cleaning your roof every 3-5 years to keep it maintained and beautiful
A thick, high-end metal roof could last for 70 years. The durability will come with a price though and could cost you around $900 per square foot. Even though it’s more durable, you should still get your roof cleaned.
Metal roofs are particularly popular in regions that experience heavy snowfall, as the snow easily slides off of it and protects the home.
Cheaper, thinner metal gauge roofs have a shorter lifespan of 20 to 25 years.
Still exploring what type of roof you may want? Learn How to Choose the Right Roofing Materials for Your Home
It’s true that some roofing materials carry a longer lifespan than others, but it’s not guaranteed to reach that limit if you don’t put in the work to maintain it. Other variables like the climate and weather conditions you live in can affect the roof’s life as well.
Let’s look at a few things you should consider when trying to get the most out of your roof.
Ventilation is one of the most important factors in the life of a roof. Your attic should be properly ventilated so that hot or cold air doesn’t get trapped and end up damaging the roof.
Trapped heat could call for a total roof replacement if it’s bad enough to burn it up. This would also void any warranties that you have on the roof, meaning more money out of your pocket for repairs and replacements.
To ensure that your attic is properly ventilated, make sure that you have a balanced ventilation system that allows air to flow freely into intake vents and out through exhaust vents.
If you live in a region where severe storms or hurricanes are common, this can without a doubt affect the life of your roof. Frequent hail will damage your shingles and high winds can blow them off entirely. Storm damage and hail damage can cause increased granule loss on your shingles and will shorten their lifespan.
When a severe storm hits, it’s best to have your roof inspected right away to identify any lasting issues that should be addressed immediately.
Looking to know more about how severe storms can impact your roof? Check out Signs Your Roof Has Experienced Storm Damage and How to Identify Hail Damage to Your Roof
Some wear and tear is normal, including fading from direct sunlight. This can be a tough fix but ideally you don’t want any one spot of your roof taking more direct sunlight than the rest.
Consult with your roofing contractor to determine how constant direct sunlight will affect how long your roof will last.
Regular roof maintenance can mean having an annual inspection done to find issues before they become bigger and more expensive.
But there is also upkeep that you should be doing yourself to ensure the life of your roof doesn’t shorten. Keep the roof clean from debris, especially after a storm. Wet debris sitting on your roof will only stay wet and can cause damage.
Keep the valleys of the roof, as well as the gutters and downspout clean so that everything is functioning as needed. Other things to look out for include signs of animal intrusion from your roof into your attic, loose or missing caulking, and ensuring that all flashing is airtight.
There are many things you can do yourself to keep your roof strong for years to come, but getting an expert second opinion will help you prevent costly issues.